A British organisation Index on Censorship has shortlisted Zimbabwean activist Evan Mawarire, who was arrested on his return from the United States last week, in its Freedom of Expression Awards for 2017, Digital Activism category.
The shortlist was announced today and the winner will be announced in April.
The awards are in four categories: arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism.
Index on Censorship said about Mawarire:
“In May 2016, Baptist pastor Evan Mawarire unwittingly began the most important protest movement in Zimbabwe’s recent history when he posted a video of himself draped in the Zimbabwean flag, expressing his frustration at the state of the nation.
“A subsequent series of YouTube videos and the hashtag Mawarire used, #ThisFlag, went viral, sparking protests and a boycott called by Mawarire, which he estimates was attended by over eight million people.
“A scale of public protest previously inconceivable, the impact was so strong that private possession of Zimbabwe’s national flag has since been banned. The pastor temporarily left the country following death threats and was arrested in early February as he returned to his homeland.”
It quotes Mawarire as saying: “I called the campaign #ThisFlag because it encouraged citizens to get involved in reclaiming national pride by condemning the shameless actions of government and its officials.”
Mawarire is currently facing various charges including subverting a lawful government. He was due to apply for bail today.